Wrapped with Aloha: Shriners Hospitals for Children – Honolulu extends warm greetings to kupuna


HONOLULU (KHON2) – Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu is sharing warm greetings and spreading aloha this holiday season. The hospital is getting staff and patients involved for a good cause.

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“We thought, we can make blankets together as a team and then we could donate the blankets,” said Paulette Nakamatsu, BSN, RN, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Honolulu inpatient services manager. “That’s how the Blankets of Aloha came about.”

Shriners Hospital setup a “blanket bee” to get their Wrapped with Aloha project started.

Stitch after stitch, the staff got closer to their goal of completing 50 blankets.

“We even had one of our physicians who’s a surgeon come down and we’re like, ‘you have to use those cutting skills and help us out here,'” said  Helene Freni-Rogers, CTRS, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Honolulu manager of recreation therapy.

It was a team effort with many of the Shriners patients also getting invovled.

“So we just want to teach them that they too, can give back. So we do different things throughout the year and this was just one of them. So the children helped by wrapping up the blankets and adding the message to it,” Freni-Rogers said.

Once the keiki and staff wrapped and decorated all the Blankets of Aloha, they were off for delivery to surprise kupuna at Leahi Hospital.

“We really appreciate when people in the community think about us, especially our residents,” said Joan Watanabe, Leahi Hospital volunteer services coordinator. “In this time of the pandemic, you’re quite isolated. Only recently, we opened up to have in the window visits.”

Shriners Hospital says they’re grateful to be able to extend warm greetings this holiday season, even from a distance away.

“It’s so important to make sure that the kupuna know that we were blessed that they’re here. We’re actually blessed that we are healthy and that we could give a part of ourselves to the kupuna and let them know they’re not forgotten.”

Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu staff gives back to the community year-round. The facility relies on community support in order to continue providing specialized orthopedic care for Hawaii’s keiki, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

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